President Gerald Ford's mother Dorothy Ayer Gardner Ford and maternal grandfather Levi Addison Gardner and possibly his maternal grandmother Adele Augusta Ayer Gardner were born in the county (near Harvard, Illinois).
| McHenry County|
Population by year
2000 - 260,077 |
1990 - 183,241
1980 - 147,897
1970 - 111,555
1960 - 84,210
1950 - 50,656
1940 - 37,311
1930 - 35,079
1920 - 33,164
1910 - 32,509
1900 - 29,759
1890 - 26,114
1880 - 24,908
1870 - 23,762
1860 - 22,089
1850 - 14,978
1840 - 2,578
As of the census of 2000, there were 260,077 people, 89,403 households, and 69,287 families residing in the county. The population density was 431 people per square mile (166/km²). There were 92,908 housing units at an average density of 154 per square mile (59/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 93.91% White, 0.59% Black or African American, 0.17% Native American, 1.45% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 2.77% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. 7.54% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 28.5% were of German, 12.2% Irish, 9.8% Polish, 8.8% Italian and 5.6% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 89.3% spoke English, 6.4% Spanish and 1.0% Polish as their first language.
There were 89,403 households out of which 42.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.50% were married couples living together, 7.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.50% were non-families. 18.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.89 and the average family size was 3.31.
In the county the population was spread out with 30.20% under the age of 18, 7.10% from 18 to 24, 33.50% from 25 to 44, 21.30% from 45 to 64, and 8.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 100.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $64,826, and the median income for a family was $71,553. Males had a median income of $50,479 versus $31,141 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,476. About 2.50% of families and 3.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.80% of those under age 18 and 3.60% of those age 65 or over.
Some of the most notable weather events in the county include the 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak, the Blizzard of 1967, the 1967 Belvidere - Oak Lawn tornado outbreak, the Blizzard of February 1979, the Flood of 1996, the Blizzard of 1999, the Early Winter 2006 North American Storm Complex, the 2007 Midwest flooding event, and the January 2008 tornado outbreak sequence.
McHenry County is served in the United States House of Representatives by Donald Manzullo (R, IL-16), who represents the southern and western portions of the county, and Melissa Bean (D, IL-8), who represents the northeastern parts of the county.
In the Illinois Senate, McHenry County is served by Pamela Althoff (R) and William Peterson (R) and in the Illinois House of Representatives by Mike Tryon (R), Jack Franks (D), and Mark Beaubien, Jr. (R).
A majority of elected county officials are Republican.
McHenry County also includes dozens of school districts. There are also several high schools in the county. The largest high schools are Johnsburg High School, McHenry High School East & West, Woodstock High School, Prairie Ridge High School, Crystal Lake Central High School, Crystal Lake South High School, Cary-Grove High School, Harry D. Jacobs High School, and Huntley High School, all of which are part of the Fox Valley Conference. Harvard High School, Richmond-Burton High School, and Marengo High School are part of the Big Northern Conference. Alden-Hebron High School and Marian Central Catholic High School are also found in the county.
The major employment centers can be found in Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Huntley, McHenry, and Woodstock.
In addition, several historic downtowns throughout the county offer unique shops and eateries in charming environments. The Woodstock Square Historic District, antique shops in Richmond and Hebron, downtown Crystal Lake and downtown Algonquin, and shops in other historic downtowns throughout the county accommodate residents and tourists alike.
In addition, the Fox River and Chain O'Lakes provide immense opportunites for boating, fishing, swimming, and other water activities. Moraine Hills State Park and Chain O' Lakes State Park are both located in the county, adjacent to the waterway. Other major lakes in the county include Crystal Lake, Wonder Lake, and McCullom Lake.
There are also dozens of parks, golf courses, and country clubs throughout the county.
Major skiing areas include Nordic Ski Jump in Fox River Grove and Buffalo Snowboarding Park in Algonquin. In addition, the Windy City Balloon Port in Fox River Grove offers hot air balloon rides over the Fox River Valley.
There are also several important points of interest in the county including the Illinois Railway Museum and McHenry County Historical Museum in Union, the Old McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock, and a variety of historical homes including the Orson Rogers House, George Stickney House, Charles H. Hibbard House, the Terwilliger House, the Count's House, and the Dole Mansion.
Throughout the year are a variety of festivals throughout the county, the centerpiece of which is the McHenry County Fair, occurring during a week in August in Woodstock. Many towns also have their own festivals throughout the year. Some of the most notable ones are the Dick Tracy Days in Woodstock, the Town Picnic in Huntley, the Summer Sunset Festival in Lake in the Hills, the Gala Festival in Crystal Lake, Milk Days in Harvard, Settler's Days in Marengo, Cary Days in Cary, Founders Days in Algonquin, and Fiesta Days in McHenry.
McHenry County is also the most populous county in the United States without direct access to an Interstate within its borders. As a result, most residents use nearby Interstate 90 (Jane Addams Memorial Tollway), a couple miles south in Kane County, to access the interstate highway system.
McHenry County is also served by Metra Rail, which provides daily commuter service to and from downtown Chicago. There are seven stations in the county, all of them located along the Union Pacific Chicago & Northwest line. The county is also served by Pace, which provides three regular bus routes, and dial-a-ride service for several communities.
Lake in the Hills Airport offers general aviation service, as do Dacy Airport and Galt Airport, in the northern part of the county. Chicago-O'Hare International Airport is approximately 30-40 miles from the county while Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport is approximately 50-60 miles.
The county does have one FM radio station (WZSR - Star 105.5 FM), which plays mostly Adult Contemporary and pop music, and one AM radio station (WAIT - 850 AM). WZSR is based out of Woodstock, while WAIT is based out of Crystal Lake.
Also, the county has its own major daily newspaper, the Northwest Herald, which provides complete, comprehensive local coverage of news throughout the greater McHenry County area. There are also several weekly publications throughout the county, focusing on the individual municipalities.